Milton native gets his wings at NAS Whiting Field
For Lt.j.g Young, flying helicopters was his second choice after completing primary fixed wing training. A month into advanced training, however, he knew it was where he was supposed to be.
While he has been in the Navy for three years, he’s been at Whiting Field completing both primary and secondary training for two. He’s lived in Milton his whole life—Young’s father is retired Navy and worked on the base, so Young grew up on the base. He graduated from the University of West Florida, and then he joined the Navy as an officer.
“It feels great meeting people,” Lt.j.g. Young said of being in the Navy. Many times, his fellow officers who were new to Milton would ask Young for the best local spots. Even though he is from here, Young said he got to have a lot of new experiences at Whiting. He stayed motivated by the friends he has made, people who were going through the same things at the same time as him during their time in helicopter training.
Now that he has received his wings of gold, Young is looking forward to seeing the world. “That’s why I joined the Navy,” Young said. His first stop is his assignment to Jacksonville, Florida, where he will be flying a MH-60R helicopter. According to Young, there are two kinds of MH-60 helicopter. The first is mainly search and rescue, but the MH-60R focuses on radar and hunting submarines—finding the enemy, as Young put it.
After Jacksonville, Young’s hope is to move on to the East Coast, and then eventually Europe, though he knows anything can happen in the Navy. His service obligation from the date of receiving his wings of gold is eight years, when he will take time to assess if he will continue. He was quick to note he expects to continue in the Navy.
“The first step is to get a college degree,” Young said of those wishing to pursue a similar career path. “Get a four-year degree.” Graduating from college allows the possibility of entering the Navy as an officer, which is what Young did.
The winging ceremony was a family affair. Young’s parents were in attendance, and they were the ones to pin the wings on to Young’s uniform. He said that being away from home for the first time will be tough.
“It’s the first time I’m not around family at all,” Young said. He said he will miss home-cooked meals, but moving on to Jacksonville is just his first stop on his way to see the world as a Navy officer and helicopter pilot.